Why should you cook sous vide?
Cooking sous vide (French for “under vacuum”) will take the guesswork out of preparing a perfect meal. Where conventional cooking methods are very susceptible to undercooking or overcooking your food, Sous vide cooking is very forgiving. By vacuum sealing your food in a bag you trap in all juices, vitamins and flavors. You will no longer throw out precious nutrients with the cooking liquid.
The preferred method of sous vide cooking is to use an immersion circulator, also known as a sous vide machine (and often misspelled as suvee machine). This often expensive piece of hardware will heat a small tub or pan of water to the exact preferred temperature, often within a tenth of a degree. The same effect can be reached with a steam oven. Less precise but still very doable is using a beer cooler. These insulated tubs will keep the water inside hot for a significant time and will work for vegetables, or cuts of meat.
Sous vide bags
Just as important is the bag that you cook in. Many people will claim that any plastic zipper bag will do, but this is not true. The bag that is being used should be sturdy enough not to tear or be punctured by a small bone. Some bags simply don’t have a truly air tight zip and having only a small pocket of air in your bag can make the food float to the surface and prevent the food from being cooked evenly. If any water seeps into the bag, you will lose some of the juices and nutrients to the water. Proper Sous vide cooking needs bags designed for the job. Vacuvita bags are made out of a food-safe multi-layered plastic and have a double zip to ensure an air tight seal.
Things to cook sous vide
Sous vide salmon is to die for. It is tender and flavorful throughout without any dried out parts. Cook your fresh salmon at 104 °F for an hour.
Sous vide chicken breasts need 2 hours at 149 °F. Try it once and you will not want to cook them any other way.
Most vegetables need over 2 hours at 185 °F. Carrots and other root vegetables will have an amazing color and flavor when prepared this way.
Many shun cooking sous vide at home because they are suspicious of the cooking temperatures. Although many bacteria will survive temperatures below boiling point for a while, most of them (and this is true for almost all harmful bacteria found in meat) will not survive a prolonged exposure to temperatures above 130°F. Some foods like vegetables, fruits and raw sea fish can often be consumed raw and can be cooked at lower temperatures. There are many temperature tables for sous vide cooking to be found online which you can consult. Since most sous vide food has all its nutrients sealed in, it can actually be beneficial for your health to cook sous vide. The only side note to this is that you should always keep meat or fish cold before you start cooking.
If you ever get the chance, try cooking sous vide. It will change your view on cooking.